What is Eid Al Adha or Eid ul Aza? When will Muslim celebrate Eid Al Adha 2016?

Eid Al Adha is one of the holiest celebrations on the Islamic calendar. The holiday known as the “Feast of Sacrifice” or ”Festival of the Sacrifice”, also called the “Bakr-Eid” represents the end of Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that lasts three to four days. The Holy Quran recommends all Muslims make the journey at least once in their lifetime.

What is Eid Al Adha?

Muslims celebrate this day as a reminder of the time in which Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son but was told by God to sacrifice an animal instead. The celebration symbolizes Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah.

When will Eid Al Adha start?

Up to 2 million Muslims from around the world arrived in Saudi Arabia for the start of Hajj this week. The start of Eid Al Adha is determined based on the lunar cycle, which means the festival falls on a different date every year. In 2016, it was expected to fall on Sunday, But the new moon was not spotted on Sept. 1 as expected and instead was spotted on the second day of the month. That means Eid Al Adha will start on Monday and end Tuesday, Metro UK reported.

How is Eid Al Adha celebrated?

Depending on where you are in the world, Eid Al Adha could be celebrated on a different day. For example, the Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court announced that it would celebrate the festival Monday, whereas other nations will celebrate Tuesday.

Eid al-Adha

Muslims start out the day with a morning prayer and then exchange gifts and food among family and friends. They are required to share their food and money with the poor so they can also take part in the celebrations. Worshippers typically slaughter an animal
like a goat or sheep. Close to 10 million animals are slaughtered in Pakistan on Eid.

For those who make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, they are expected to perform two rituals. The first is a lesser pilgrimage known as “Umrah,” or a journey to Mecca at any time of the year. The second is the main pilgrimage, known as “Hajj.” During
these rituals, worshippers are to circle the Kaaba, believed to be a shrine built by Ibrahim and pray to Allah.

The festival is traditionally four days long, but the celebration of the public holiday varies depending on the country.

Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a sunnah prayer of two rakats followed by a sermon (khutbah). Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the descent of the Hujjaj, the pilgrims performing the Hajj, from Mount Arafat , a hill east of Mecca. Eid sacrifice may take place until sunset on the 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah.

The Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)

The Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)

THE HAJJ, or pilgrimage, is the fifth of the five pillars (duties) of Islam. Every able-bodied Muslim should make the pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime, finances permitting.

 

The Hajj takes place annually during the first 10 days of the Dhu al-Hijja, the twelfth month of the Islamic year. The Islamic calendar is based on lunar months, so the actual date moves forward about 11 days each year in relation to the western solar calendar.

 

During the Hajj, pilgrims must be in a state of ihram (consecration). Men wear two pieces of white unstitched cloth – covering the waist and legs, the other around the shoulders covering the upper body. While in ihram, pilgrims must not cut hair or nails, wear perfumes, kill animals or insects, or engage in any kind of sexual relations (including proposals of marriage).

 

New Hijri year – How faith served the Prophet to reach Medina

As the new Hijri year begins, Muslims are reminded about the migration of the Prophet and to observe the memory of harmony, altruism and unity between the Muhajireen (migrants) and Ansar (supporters).

After the message of Allah was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, he stayed in Mecca to preach Islam and reach out to tribes and envoys.

“But he found little support and endorsement. Instead he was severely harmed, yet he remained patient until Allah, the most High, awarded Him with Ansars who embraced Islam before they went back to Medina,” explains the sermon.

“Then Allah, may Glory be to Him, authorized His Messenger to start the journey to Medina, a call that his followers answered without hesitation.”

As the Prophet himself waited in Mecca until he received the order from Allah, Quraish tribes plotted to kill him.

They agreed to have a member of each tribe participate in the killing so his blood would be distributed between them, and thus whoever wanted to avenge him would have to face all the tribes.

Allah says in the Quran: “And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.

“As He promised, Allah saved his Apostle, who went out from Mecca before their enemies’ eyes, but their sight was momentarily taken away,” continues the sermon.

“He took a handful of dust and started pouring it on their heads, while reciting this verse: ‘And We have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier and covered them, so they do not see’.”

He walked with his companion, Abu Bakr, at night until they reached the cave of Thawr and took refuge in it.

In the meantime, Quraish had left no stone unturned to find him until they reached the Cave gate and stood by there.

At that point, Abu Bakr told the Prophet: “Allah’s Messenger, if one amongst them were to see at his feet he would have surely seen us.”

Prophet Mohammed replied: “What can befall two who have Allah as the third One with them.”

A Quranic verse was revealed about this incident that says: “If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, ‘Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.’

“And Allah sent down his tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.”

After three days of staying at the cave, they were able to leave Mecca for Medina.

By: Haneen Dajani        hdajani@thenational.ae